Town Square

Post a New Topic

How about '(Your Name Here) Art Center'?

Original post made on Nov 16, 2007

With aging facilities and tight budgets, the City of Palo Alto faces a quandary: Should it grant naming rights to buildings, rooms or other city-owned properties to recognize major donors?

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, November 15, 2007, 11:17 PM

Comments (11)

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2007 at 5:20 pm

I have been thinking about this one before posting. It certainly brought chuckles when mentioning Bob's Bail Bonds, but no one chuckles about Monster Park, ATT Park, or HP Pavilion. I have no doubt that Bob's Bail Bonds Police HQ would not work, but we have many successful PA companies that could pay to name say a library, or an art center, and add to the overall PA flavor.

It brings to mind the Little League Teams that we see, not only on the uniform hats the boys wear, but also the write ups in the sports section.

As to whether it would bring more business to the sponsor, it would certainly bring an aspiring company that the man in the street has never heard of into the public eye. We could even up with a Google art Center or a Sun Theater.

I have no objection to either, provided that they had no real conflict of interest or even a stake in the product they were naming.
Since it now costs so much to build a library or whatever, getting sponsorship rather than never ending bonds may be the way to go.

Like this comment
Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 16, 2007 at 5:38 pm

Good idea. Donations drive building names at universities; why not town governments? If we let corporations sponsor events and programs, why not facilities? If we can have the HP Pavilion and AT&T Park, how about Wilson Sonsini Community Center and the Google Library?

Of course, we need to reserve the right to remove the name for bad conduct (and return the money), but that's all part of the deal.

It all sounds strange when it starts (as with naming rights on sports venues and bowl games) but after a while it is just part of the scenery.

Like this comment
Posted by TK
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2007 at 3:30 am

What a great idea, let's sell the whole City off!!!!

Like this comment
Posted by For Sale by City
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 17, 2007 at 11:53 am

I am a Palo Alto Resident.

Now when will the "City" put be up for sale?

Brave New World .....

Like this comment
Posted by History Buff
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 18, 2007 at 9:49 pm

There is certainly precedent for naming, locally think Lucie Stern Center, for sure, and maybe Spangenberg Theatre (I don't know if that was simply honoring one of the Spangenbergs, or a donation from them), and nationally the Carnegie libraries. Personally I like the sound of individuals, rather than companies, but would rather have that than several hundred dollars of bond payments a year, assuming they would be paying the bulk of a project and not just $1M or so(about $15 per resident).

Like this comment
Posted by Senior Blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 19, 2007 at 8:01 am

I believe, that for $3,000,000 you can get your name on a Stanford building.

Like this comment
Posted by PA mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 19, 2007 at 8:20 am

I think naming a building after the donor (who has paid to build the building or paid to totally renovate it) is a great idea, we just need to be sure we don't sell ourselves short.

The Little League Major's sponsors are a different story, I have to say it give me the creeps to read about "Joe's Hamburgers" beat "R&B Ice Cream". These are little kids, their teams should have real names (think Cubs, White Sox, or Purple People Eaters...) The Little League has plenty of money, must they really accept sponsorships in that way? The younger teams are still sponsored - but have names too.

Like this comment
Posted by Little League Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2007 at 9:42 am


I too used to think the same as you but have changed my mind for various reasons.

Firstly, as you say it is the older boys' teams that use the sponsorship names and quite often they really use nicknames for the teams rather than the full name. They do tend to identify themselves well with these names and when you get used to them, it really seems ok. I do agree that it reads strange in the sports write ups in the paper.

Secondly, many moons ago, someone gave a large donation to Little League on the provision that there would be no advertising banners hung around the ballpark. This means that sponsorship is the only alternative to paid advertising at the park which is what other Little Leagues do. I think it is a better idea having the adverstising on the back of the hats rather than on big banners around the ballpark.

Like this comment
Posted by PA mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 19, 2007 at 11:35 am

Little League Parent -

Sponsorship is fine and really preferable to a bunch of banners. The sponsor names on shirts, hats, etc. is fine too - I'd just rather read about the Palo Alto Cubs, sponsored by Joe's Ice Cream in the paper instead of the company name over and over... I think its way too commercial for elementary and middle school kids teams. I know they use nicknames internally - but what you read in the paper is the full company name - often 10 or 12 times in an article.

Like this comment
Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 19, 2007 at 1:48 pm

PA Mom and LLP - for what its worth, in a previous town we handled team sponsors much as PA Mom is saying - teams got sponsored, but also had "team" names, and were known as the "Red Sox" not the "Fish Markets" (always makes me chuckle when I see it on a jersey). The sponsor got its name on the jersey, no problem; but it avoided the awkwardness of calling a team by a company name.

College bowl games are similar - if it were just the "Tostitos Bowl" that would seem strange; instead it is the "Tostitos Fiesta Bowl," which you can also shorten to "Fiesta Bowl" when you like.

Like this comment
Posted by Marge
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 20, 2007 at 9:10 am

I have always thought that naming something after yourself was weird. How about donating money for a building, and naming it after someone who has made a big difference in your life, and the community? Like the Hugh Center Meeting Room? Or the Ron Wyden Center? Or, the Patty McEwen rehersal room at the Children's Theater? Just a thought.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

What Are Your Gifts that Must Be Shared?
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,416 views

Fu Lam Mum shutters temporarily in Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 1 comment | 1,016 views


Best Of Palo Alto ballot is here

It's time to decide what local business is worthy of the title "Best Of Palo Alto" — and you get to decide! Cast your ballot online. Voting ends May 29th. Stay tuned for the results in the July 21st issue of the Palo Alto Weekly.